A Guide to Making a Lenten Rule
Lent is a season to prepare for the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection at Holy Week and Easter. Each year, we are called by the Church to fast from what has made us too full, or has deadened our response to God’s call. It is also a time to rededicate ourselves to the study of God’s Holy Scriptures, daily prayer, works of mercy in our community, forgiveness of wrongs done to us, and turning away from sinful practices in our lives. What can you do to hear God better? Making a written commitment to implementing these changes in our life is called a Lenten rule.
A Lenten rule should be very clear and achievable; heroics and vagueness won’t work.
· Specificity: Rather than writing “I will pray more” it would be better to say when, how long, and what resources you will use during your Lenten commitment to prayer. The items on the Lenten Table in the narthex may help.
· Realism: Instead of taking on something you know you are really not prepared to do, try something that moves you closer to your goal. Remember: a good Lenten rule leads to changes in our way of life after Lent, as well.
· Breadth: Fasting can include things other than food. What about time at the computer? How about a fast from speeding or making judgments about others, and noting the times and circumstances when you broke your fast? One can learn much from taking note of the pressures and cycles of life which make us vulnerable.
· Balance: Your rule should lead you to balance in life and reliance on God. A rule is not a way to prove how spiritually strong you are or how much you love God. God loves us; we must learn to respond to that love.
A Lenten Rule
In order that I may prepare in heart, mind and body to receive the risen Christ at Easter, I am making a commitment to God this Lent with the following points of self-denial and devotion:
I will fast from:
I will take on:
I offer this Lenten season to God, that I may be transformed more and more into the person he calls me to be.